GLOBAL VANADIUM WRAP: Chinese FeV export offers edge up on thin supplies; European market sees limited activity

Date: Jan 23, 2019

Chinese vanadium exporters raised their offer prices again this past week against a back drop of tightening supply, while European ferro-vanadium prices narrowed amid a slowdown in spot activity.

  • Chinese FeV export offers rise on thin supplies
  • European FeV market narrows on spot market slowdown
  • European vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) market flat on inactivity
  • US FeV prices slide further in line with global market

Chinese ferro-vanadium export prices ticked up for the second consecutive week in the pricing week ended Friday January 18 amid limited availability of the material in the country’s domestic market.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for ferro-vanadium, 78% min, fob China, stood at $70-72 per kg on January 17, up by 0.7% from $69-72 per kg in the previous week.

Several ferro-vanadium export deals were reportedly concluded at the price range of $70-72 per kg in the pricing week despite the fact that the volume for each deal was no more than 10 tonnes.

Many Chinese ferro-vanadium exporters refrained from offering last week because of the lack of readily available spot cargoes on hand.

“We will not be able to offer [ferro-vanadium] in the export market prior to Chinese New Year [February 4] as the volume we have needs to be provided to steel mills based on contacts signed before and we do not have extra material for exports right now. What’s worse, currently it’s really hard to source the raw material,” a Chinese ferro-vanadium exporter said.

Foreign buyers, on the other hand, were reported to be quite unwilling to accept the higher offer prices.

“We did not buy any volume [of ferro-vanadium] from China [last week] as the offer prices are a bit high for us,” a trader said.

“We failed to conclude a deal this week as we offered at around $74 per kg but it seems that no buyer is willing to place orders at the price,” a second Chinese ferro-vanadium exporter said on January 17.

In addition to buyers’ reluctance to accept the higher prices, a comparatively stable domestic market failed to provide momentum for the country’s ferro-vanadium export prices to climb significantly in the past week.

China’s domestic ferro-vanadium prices were relatively stable despite having showed signs of strengthening recently, one market source said.

“The market sentiment is much better but the domestic [ferro-vanadium] price did not see an evident increase. I suppose this is because mills were still unable to accept higher prices especially when their profit margins have been largely squeezed since the last quarter of 2018,” a market participant said.

“This might also because market participants are becoming more cautious after experiencing the sharp price change seen in 2018. And I do not think China’s ferro-vanadium prices will leap before Chinese New Year,” he added.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for ferro-vanadium, min 78%, fob China, climbed by 176% from early 2018 to a historical high at $130-140 per kg on October 18, 2018, before plunging by 48.7% to $68.50-70 per kg on December 27, the final assessment in 2018, according to Fastmarkets data.

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